To give Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy the challenge he craves, he’ll face THREE superstars at the Royal Rumble! Who earns the first two spots tonight?
- Lio Rush VS Kalisto w/ Lucha House Party; Kalisto wins and advances to the Royal Rumble Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4 Way.
- Drew Gulak VS Akira Tozawa; Tozawa wins and advances to the Royal Rumble Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4 Way.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE mourns the loss of “Mean” Gene Okerlund.
Drake Maverick welcomes us to the first 205 Live of 2019!
The GM of the Cruiserweight Division has an important announcement later tonight on what’s in store for WWE’s fastest brand in the New Year. But first, we have some high stakes matches on the card! Buddy Murphy wants to prove he’s THE best Cruiserweight in the world, and will take on not one but three challengers at the Royal Rumble. Tonight, two matches will determine two of the three. The Lucha Dragon, Kalisto, will take on the Man of the Hour, Lio Rush. This match will personify speed as Kalisto looks to become a two-time Cruiserweight Champion while Lio could earn his first shot at the title.
Then the main event features one of 205 Live’s fiercest rivalries as The Stamina Monster, Akira Tozawa, takes on the Philly Fury, Drew Gulak. Tozawa and THE Brian Kendrick got even with Gulak and Jack Gallagher weeks ago in their Street Fight Tag match, but the war doesn’t end there. Will Gulak make Tozawa tap and win a ticket to the Royal Rumble? Or will Tozawa himself earn a chance at becoming a two-time champ?
Lio Rush VS Kalisto w/ Lucha House Party!
Between the New Year and WWE’s “fresh start”, the 24 Year Old Piece of Gold wants to renew his aspirations for championship gold. Meanwhile, the Lucha House Party would love some gold of their own to make the fiesta even more festive. Who will be the first of three contenders challenging the Juggernaut at the Royal Rumble?
The bell rings and Kalisto circles with Lio. Fans chant “Lucha! Lucha!” and “Lio Sucks!” and Kalisto makes sure Lio hears it. Then things speed up, but Kalisto doesn’t let Lio take the lead. “Lucha! Lucha!” starts up again and Kalisto blocks a kick. Kalisto flips Lio but Lio speeds things up as he rebounds and runs around. Kalisto matches with a handspring and Lio backs off. The matracas rattle and the fans chant “Lucha!” while The Body Guys, Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese, watch backstage and enjoy some protein shakes. Kalisto keeps his eyes on Lio but Lio takes his time returning. Lio then rushes in but Kalisto’s ready for him. Lio SLAPS Kalisto, but that only angers the Lucha Dragon! The chase is on!
Lio goes up and around a post then back in the ring. Kalisto handsprings off the steel steps to then get in, roll Lio and hit him with a Listo Kick! Kalisto keeps kicking but Lio knees back. Lio whips but Kalisto dropkicks Lio! Kalisto kicks Lio more, then runs, but Lio dodges. Kalisto tumbles to the apron, but Lio dropkicks him off! Lio then builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit onto Kalisto! Lio grimaces as he drags Kalisto up and into the ring. Lio stomps Kalisto to the corner, then throws haymakers. He stomps a mudhole but fans chant “Lucha! Lucha!” Kalisto CHOPS back! Lio kicks Kalisto then suplexes him down. Lio drags Kalisto up and elbows him in the back. Cover, ONE! Lio keeps his cool as he grabs Kalisto in a camel clutch. Kalisto endures as Lio pulls back, a knee into the back.
Fans rally and Kalisto feeds off the energy. Kalisto fights up and out, then victory rolls! TWO, and Lio clobbers Kalisto with a clothesline! Lio rains down lefts then covers, TWO! Lio puts the camel clutch back on, then grinds Kalisto’s face into the mat. He goes after the face and mask, but the ref reprimands him. Fans rally up but Lio clubs Kalisto. Lio throws Kalisto out, and both Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik check on him while Lio lounges on the top rope. The ring count climbs but Kalisto gets back in at 4. Lio lines up a shot and kicks Kalisto in the head. Lio throws body shots in the corner, then a chop. Kalisto hits back with CHOPS, then runs but into a back elbow! Metalik and Lince coach Kalisto as Lio covers, TWO! The “Lucha! Lucha!” starts again while Lio puts Kalisto in a keylock.
Kalisto endures and the matracas sound. Lio shifts to make it a half straitjacket but Kalisto endures. Kalisto gets up and fights his way out. Kalisto fires off but Lio hits back. They brawl, Lio lets off a strike fest! Lio runs in but is put on the apron. Kalisto swing kicks Lio down! Kalisto aims and knee-boards for a senton! Both men are down but fans fire up. Kalisto gets up first and brings Lio into the ring. Kalisto and Lio stand, Lio heel kicks Kalisto! Lio buzzsaw kicks Kalisto down, but he doesn’t cover. He heads for the corner and climbs up top. Kalisto springs to life to kick Lio back! Kalisto climbs to join Lio now, and the two fight up top. Lio headbutts Kalisto but Kalisto holds on. Lio punches Kalisto down but Kalisto kicks Lio again!
Kalisto climbs back up, picks Lio up, and hits a SUPER back flip power slam! Cover, TWO!! Lio lives and Kalisto can’t believe it! Fans rally and Kalisto stirs. Kalisto stands and fires up with more “Lucha! Lucha!” Lio stands and turns around, but denies Salida to go for the underhook. Lio spins Kalisto for the overdrive unprettier! Cover, TWO!! Kalisto survives and shocks Lio! Lio is furious, and he drags Kalisto up to punch him down. He does it again, then tries again. Kalisto counters and jawbreakers! Kalisto springboards, corkscrew crossbody! He kicks away on Lio, mule kick and runs. Lio runs to pump kick! Lio runs into a heel kick! Kalisto walks into a fireman’s carry, and hotshot!
Kalisto goes down and Lio recovers in the ring. The ref counts and the Lucha House Party coach Kalisto up. The count passes 7 as Kalisto stands. Kalisto gets up and gets in at 9.5! Lio is furious now, and goes to a corner. Lio climbs with Kalisto in a drop zone. But the matracas rattle and Lio gets annoyed. Lio tells them to stop, then aims at Kalisto. Lince still shakes the matraca but then Lio kicks it away! Lince gets mad and Metalik keeps hims back. Lio then hits both of them with a dropkick! Lince is ready to fight but he can’t because it’ll disqualify Kalisto. Lio uses that to his advantage, but walks into Salida del Sol!! Cover, Kalisto wins!!
Winner: Kalisto, by pinfall; advances to the Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4 Way
Don’t blame Dorado for this one, Lio let himself lose focus, and that lost him the match. Now that Kalisto is headed for a title shot, will he be the one to stop the unstoppable? And who else will join him and Buddy Murphy in that championship match?
Backstage interview with Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher.
Does Gulak see himself as the underdog in tonight’s match after Akira Tozawa and THE Brian Kendrick defeated him and Gallagher in that Tag Team Street Fight? There are many words Gulak would use to describe himself, such as “leader” and “submission specialist”, but also “realist”. That match only proved that Tozawa and Kendrick are “low rent brawlers” and got lucky. Is Gulak an underdog? No. Because tonight is not a Street Fight, it is a wrestling match, and rules will be enforced. That puts Tozawa at the disadvantage. When Tozawa steps to Gulak, he will tap out.
Meanwhile, Kendrick helps Tozawa get in some last minute training. Tozawa fires off punch after punch into the pads with Gulak’s face on them, then throws them down on the ground. Both men are determined to settle the score while scoring themselves a spot in the championship match. Their main event is up next!
Drake Maverick speaks.
“Here on 205 Live, a new year means new opportunities.” 2018 saw a remarkable transformation, and with Maverick as GM, there won’t be any resting on our laurels. Maverick did some planning over the holidays, talked with the GMs of other brands, and even scoured all four corners of the globe for any and all great Cruiserweight talent to raise the standard of competition. The WWE Universe can expect new faces to join the roster, and the roster can expect fiercer competition. Maverick wants everyone to step up and rise to the occasion. 205 Live will remain the premier place for the world’s Cruiserweight Division! When and where will we see these new faces make their debuts?
Drew Gulak VS Akira Tozawa!
The Tag Team Street Fight was intense and innovative as The Stamina Monster and the newly shaven Man with a Plan overcame the Submission Commission. However, Gulak spins it that a no disqualification match means nothing to a technical specialist like himself. Will Gulak make up for that hardcore defeat with a sound and traditional victory? Or will Tozawa ring in his new year with a golden opportunity?
The Body Guys watch this match backstage, too, and Nese is still shaking up his drink. The bell rings and fans “AH! AH!” along with Tozawa. Gulak grimaces as he still hates chants and general crowd noise. The two circle and tie up. Gulak gets a headlock and takeover, but Tozawa gets the headscissor. Gulak headscissors back and then hammers Tozawa in the chest. Tozawa moves around and gets free, and the two stand off. Gulak swaggers about and fans boo. Tozawa and Gulak tie up, and Gulak gets the headlock again. Gulak brings Tozawa to the mat, but Tozawa gets up and reverses to a hammerlock and headlock. Gulak drops down to roll Tozawa up but Tozawa denies a cover. Tozawa holds on as they stand up again.
Gulak reverses out to a wristlock, then hooks Tozawa’s face to get the headlock back. Tozawa powers out but Gulak runs him over. Things speed up and Gulak rolls to catch Tozawa in a roll up! TWO, and Gulak narrowly avoids the Penalty Kick. The two stand off again, then tie up. Gulak grabs an ear and puts Tozawa in a corner. Gulak lets go at 4, then grinds his fingers into Tozawa’s face. He backs off at 4 again, and Tozawa fires back elbows. Tozawa scoops but Gulak blocks. Tozawa fakes the chop to hit the jab! Then he hits the scoop slam! And the shouting senton! Cover, TWO! Gulak rolls away and Tozawa takes aim. Gulak goes running, so Tozawa pursues. Tozawa runs into a boot, but blocks the snap suplex.
Tozawa hits back and Gulak gets into the ring. But Tozawa grabs the feet, only for Gulak to shove him into barriers! Gulak drags Tozawa up to scoop and slam him back. Gulak grins as he stands over Tozawa. He drags Tozawa up and into the ring, then covers. TWO, but Gulak smirks as he stomps Tozawa’s back. Gulak springboard stomps, then sits Tozawa up for a half surfboard on the arms. Tozawa endures as Gulak pulls back. Fans “AH! AH!” and Tozawa feeds off that energy to get the ropebreak. Gulak lets go at 4, but drops more springboard stomps. Gulak pulls Tozawa up by his nose, then scoop slams Tozawa fast. Cover, TWO, but Gulak is back on with a chinlock. Tozawa endures and fans rally up again.
Tozawa fights against the hold, but Gulak knees low. Gulak runs, but into Tozawa’s back kick. Tozawa swings, slides under, and swings another kick, but into Gulak’s powerbomb lift. Gulak aims for ropes, but Tozawa huricanrans Gulak out! Tozawa builds speed, Gulak gets back in but gets another huricanrana, for the rolling roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Tozawa keeps going and the fans “AH! AH!” again. Tozawa throws forearms and kicks, then stomps Gulak down. He pushes Gulak into the drop zone and climbs up top. Gulak sees that and gets to the apron. Tozawa kicks Gulak down but Gulak forearms him back. Gulak shoulders in but gets a kick. Tozawa climbs again, guillotine senton! But it’s double edged as Tozawa’s back takes damage from the impact!
A ten count begins and Tozawa slowly stands up. Gulak follows and they’re up at 6. Tozawa fires palm strikes and kicks, then runs in. Gulak dodges the shining wizard for a one handed bomb into the corner! Gulak roars now, and goes for the GuLOCK! Tozawa resists, and uses the corner for leverage. Cover, TWO! Gulak blocks the wizard to hit a discus lariat! Cover, TWO! Gulak grows frustrated while Tozawa gets to a corner. Gulak runs into a boot, and Tozawa hops up. Tozawa leaps to sunset flip but Gulak rolls through to powerbomb! High stack, TWO!! Gulak is shocked as well as frustrated as Tozawa survives. Gulak grits his teeth as he glares down at Tozawa. Tozawa fires himself up but Gulak stomps him. Gulak throws hands but Tozawa eggs him on.
They brawl now with back and forth haymakers and forearms. Tozawa gets an edge, runs, and rocks Gulak with a right. Tozawa runs again for another but Gulak still wobbles. The third time, Gulak boots Tozawa, only to run into Tozawa’s boot. Tozawa tries again, tilt-o-whirl into the Octopus Stretch! But Gulak pops out into a horse collar, aka the stretch muffler! Gulak spins Tozawa around, then make sit a cover! ONE, but the hold stays on. Tozawa crawls and reaches as Gulak pulls and stretches. Tozawa endures and gets the ropebreak! Gulak lets go, and both men are down from exhaustion. Fans rally up and Tozawa feeds off the energy. Tozawa and Gulak slowly stand. Gulak goes after Tozawa first with big forearms. Tozawa pushes Gulak into buckles! Tozawa ducks Gulak for the saido suplex! But Tozawa doesn’t cover, he goes up top!
Tozawa aims, but that bad leg slows him down. He leaps, but into the GuLOCK!! Gulak has the body scissors and the dragon sleeper, and Tozawa can only flail and kick! Tozawa moves around then rolls over to the ropes! Gulak lets go but only as both men fall out to the floor. Tozawa gasps for air while a ring count begins. Gulak stands first, and refreshes the count. Gulak CHOPS Tozawa, then throws him at a post! Tozawa blocks and fires off haymakers! Gulak body shots and puts Tozawa in the ring. Tozawa boots Gulak down, then builds speed to DIVE! The Tozawa Torpedo hits its target! Fans fire up with Tozawa as he puts Gulak back in. Tozawa climbs up top once more, but Gulak trips him up! Tozawa’s bad leg is part of the bad landing, and now Gulak gets an idea.
Gulak SLAPS Tozawa, then climbs! Gulak is bending his own personal rules for the sake of victory. Tozawa resists the superplex but shoves Gulak down. Gulak lands on his feet, and tries from the very top! Tozawa still resists, and Gulak gets nervous knees! Tozawa headbutts Gulak all the way down, and has his target. He stands, and leaps for the Tokyo Tower Senton!! Cover, Tozawa wins!!
Winner: Akira Tozawa by pinfall; advances to the Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4 Way
Gulak gambled and lost! Tozawa outlasts Gulak’s ground game and wins with his aerial assault. THE Brian Kendrick celebrates with his new friend, ready to support the Stamina Monster in that title match. Will Tozawa’s stamina be the key to dethroning Buddy Murphy?
Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy aren’t worried.
The Premier Athlete even feels it just got that much easier for the champion. However, there’s one more match-up to determine the final contender. And speaking of…
Cedric Alexander speaks.
“Hideo Itami needs to understand that I don’t scare easy.” Itami walks around all intimidating, but it doesn’t work. Alexander doesn’t’ care about Itami’s past, because in their future, their rematch will end the same way as the first: Itami on the mat with a bad back, and Alexander having his hand raised.
Ariya Daivari and Hideo Itami respond.
“Cedric, your resilience in the face of adversity is absolutely admirable.” Even after his only friend, Mustafa Ali, left him for the bright lights of SmackDown, Alexander can still pick himself up after every setback. But Daivari assures that Alexander isn’t facing the same Itami from last year. This Itami is a tornado headed for the Royal Rumble. Itami tells Alexander in Japanese and Daivari translates in English, that Alexander may want his title back, but all he’s getting is a “lesson in respect.” Who wins this high stakes rematch to join Kalisto, Tozawa and Murphy at the Royal Rumble?
A pretty great episode right here, and perfect for 205 Live’s first 2019 episode. We get right down to it with two great and lengthy matches, but I do appreciate Maverick’s State of the Cruiserweight Division Address. Maverick uses kayfabe terms to essentially assure us that 205 Live will go on for as long as it can while acting as a Cruiserweight NXT. That is to say, any Cruiserweight class wrestler not quite ready for the main roster will join the purple brand and get some great play. Mustafa Ali could be seen as the prototypical Cruiserweight Call-Up. Ali has had great matches on 205 Live, he’s a complete character and very popular, and even has a great push on SmackDown with pinning Bryan and being in the #1 Contender’s Fatal 5. I can’t wait to see who else joins to then potentially go main roster.
The matches tonight also served to prove a point that 205 Live is where great matches will happen. I think each match got roughly 20 minutes and told great stories. I’m surprised Lio didn’t win, but I suppose him being annoyed and distracted by the matracas was plausible. Tozawa and Gulak had a great match that told the story of their past rivalry over Gulak’s distaste for chanting and high-flying moves. Gulak even made a similar mistake as their past feud when he risks going up top and it blows up in his face. Tozawa wins, but that makes two Faces and one Heel in the match. I was hoping Lio would win because then that’s two Heels and one Face. Cedric being Face and Itami being Heel, the math could dictate that Daivari helps Itami win and we have two and two.
Or WWE could get away from strict Face-Heel dynamics and allow for three Faces and one Heel. It would work really well if Cedric gets his shot, but then can’t get it done because this is a Fatal 4 Way and one of the others capitalizes. As I said for Raw and SmackDown this week, the “fresh start” isn’t really happening until things are completely shuffled. Alexander can detour to face Itami and Daivari, Murphy will lose and not have an automatic rematch, so that way either a two-time champion Kalisto or two-time champion Tozawa gets to use the belt in a program with any number of Heels. Murphy and Alexander could even go from the title to either being another Cruiserweight Call-Up like Ali, or helping get these new Cruiserweight stars up to speed.
My Score: 8.4/10